Arguably the most durable vehicle in the US military’s wheeled fleet, the Husky’s success in the field has been secured by ongoing field support – in training, maintenance and logistics – by US-based Critical Solutions International (CSI).
Working in close partnership with DCD Protected Mobility, the manufacturers of the Husky Platform, CSI serves the US Army and US Marine Corp’s requirement for the acquisition and maintenance of these world-renowned vehicles in various conflict areas around the globe.
“As part of any Husky sales contract, CSI includes several levels of maintenance support – pre-packaged in two grades as Blue Pack and Red Pack – in addition to on-the-ground maintenance experts and trainers,” said Donnie Strayhorn, International Business Development manager at CSI.
The compact, towable Red Pack contains the minimum spares necessary to return the Husky to mission capability, allowing at the very least for the Husky to be configured for tow-back to a designated repair area. The items in the pack typically include jacks, marking equipment, detection equipment, drive shafts and complete front and rear modules for immediate replacement.
The more comprehensive Blue Pack has the spare parts packaged in a six-metre container, fitted with storage racks, bins and platforms for heavy items. Included are all the necessary first and second line spares needed to recover and maintain vehicles during deployment stages.
“The Husky is designed to be field repairable, and there are hundreds of stories in which a Red Pack field repair kit was brought forward to the site of a blast, and within a few hours the Husky was repaired and back in the fight,” said Strayhorn.
To develop a country’s ability to maintain, repair and properly employ the Husky vehicles, CSI has also developed comprehensive and detailed training programmes, which are conducted for customers to ensure the highest standards of performance.
“These maintenance skills are vital to keep the equipment running optimally, and to ensure its effectiveness in accomplishing its task of detecting, marking and interrogating mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs),” he said.
The 80-hour training course trains both the Husky operators and the unit sustainment personnel in a range of maintenance, diagnosis, trouble-shooting and replacement activities. This course augments the Basic Husky / Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) course that teaches users to operate the vehicle and perform the primary functions of clearance operations. It includes detection and interrogation operations, reporting procedures and reacting to threats.
Combined with the unique design of the Husky, a high quality of maintenance and repair adds to the longevity of these remarkable vehicles.
“There are several real-world instances of a Husky encountering multiple blast events and still remaining in service,” he said. “The life of the unit depends on several factors such as the size of the blast, where exactly it impacted the vehicle and how well the repairs were carried out.”
The Husky technical manuals provide the full inspection steps, with acceptance criteria, that the operator is required to perform before each use, to determine if the Husky is mission-capable.
“We work closely with customers to identify and meet specific needs,” said Strayhorn. “For example, our work with the Iraqi Army required uniquely trained Combat Engineers to employ the Husky and other route clearance equipment; to accomplish this, CSI and the Iraqi Ministry of Defence established ‘Camp Husky’ – a fully equipped, self-sufficient maintenance, training and sustainment centre.”
He highlighted the importance of the Husky – as well as other DCD products such as the Mountain Lion – as key elements of the Route Clearance package, playing a vital role in protecting lives in danger zones, be they on main supply routes, city streets or rocky trails.
“This ability to successfully execute dangerous route clearing missions and return safely to base has earned the Husky the confidence and loyalty of countless operators and convoy personnel,” he said. “Our partnership with customers has led to Husky vehicles being fielded to the United States, Canada, Spain, Angola, Kenya, Iraq, Afghanistan and Australia.”
DCD is CSI’s original equipment manufacturer and spare part supplier for the base Husky vehicle. According to Cornelius Grundling, General Manager of DCD Protected Mobility, Husky operators have survived over 7 000 blasts, with only three fatalities. A unit in Turkey was recently able to survive a significant size blast event, returning back to service after a thorough field repair.